Readybus – turning to accountants to prepare for recovery

Matt Clayson, director of Readybus coach company, discovered how an accountant could solve his search for finance

4 August 2020

For business owners new to the world of business finance, coronavirus has brought with it a whole host of ways to fuel recovery or even fund growth. But, navigating government loans, grants and tax breaks can be complex, and preparing applications time consuming.

The travel ban that tipped tourism over

Lockdown has had a catastrophic impact on tourism this summer, and it’s businesses like Readybus, a coach travel company based in Slough, that have felt the force of this.

“Our whole industry is in a bit of a dark place,” explains Matt Clayson, director of the business. “We had forward bookings in early March that put us at about £3m in pre-booked turnover. As soon as Trump announced the US travel ban, we lost about £1m worth of bookings in three days. It just got cancelled.”

At this point, Matt began to explore what funding was available to struggling businesses during the pandemic.

Simplifying the search for finance

That’s where an accountant can come in handy. Working with Greg Taylor (Partner, MHA Macintyre Hudson), Matt finally found a funding solution that would help his business survive its longest winter to date – an iwoca CBILS loan.

“Previously, we hadn’t used an accountant to help us get finance – we’ve just dealt with it ourselves,” says Matt. “Greg had already helped clients like us and after a few attempts we applied to iwoca and got the finance we were looking for.”

"“Most of the banks don’t have a system where customers can track their applications. iwoca is different and allows us to keep our clients informed with plenty of information about the progress of their loan.”"

“We definitely saw an increase in the number of people wanting to explore their finance options,” says Greg. “It was a very long road before we were finally able to get Matt access to finance. We’d been looking for around two months before we applied with iwoca – that only took four days.”

“The big issue with business owners accessing CBILS is that a lot of those applying don’t have a bank manager,” continues Greg. “Most of the banks don’t have a system where customers can track their applications. iwoca is different and allows us to keep our clients informed with plenty of information about the progress of their loan.”

iwoca – same CBILS, different service

When CBILS was announced by the government, it was meant to be a help, not a hurdle.

“We were led down a garden path quite early on by our bank,” explains Matt. “We spent a lot of time on our application and they told us our response was really good… only to be declined after two months, it was a shambolic service.”

“To contrast that, our experience with iwoca has been really positive. The whole process was very quick and having someone as your dedicated point of contact is great – someone who can remember your situation and the conversation you were having with them yesterday, instead of having to constantly repeat yourself.”

Using CBILS to weather a long winter

Though the return of schools this September will not fully repair the damage that coronavirus has done to businesses like Readybus, it’s definitely a start, and will set Matt and his team in good stead for the off-season.

“We’ve been receiving a lot of enquiries for additional school work recently,” says Matt, who’s keen to spot opportunities to grow throughout the winter. “Tourism is unlikely to come back for a couple of months so we’re going to focus on that for the short term. If we fill up all of our vehicles with school work, and then need more for sorting tourists out in March, that’s a good place to be in.”

And for Greg, the clock is ticking to help as many small business owners get their own recovery plans in place before the CBILS scheme ends in September 2020.

“I’d absolutely recommend iwoca,” he says. “With any lender that’s offering a good product, it’s worth putting a case forward and seeing how the relationship goes – nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

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Dan is part of the content team at iwoca. He writes articles explaining financial topics, as well as guides on the best support for small businesses during coronavirus.

Article updated on: 7 October 2020

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